EU court backs Google, Amazon, and Airbnb in dispute over Italian regulation

The companies argued that the requirement was contrary to the EU legislation, which states that online service providers are only subject to the rules of their country of establishment.

Judge's gavel. Symbol for jurisdiction. Law concept a wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom

Europe’s top court has ruled in favour of tech giants Google, Amazon, and Airbnb in their legal battle against an Italian regulation requiring them to disclose information about themselves. The dispute arose over provisions implemented in 2020 and 2021, which compelled online service providers operating in Italy to register and furnish various details, along with paying a financial contribution or facing penalties.

The companies contested this requirement, arguing that it contradicted the EU law, which stipulates that online service providers are subject only to the regulations of the country where they are established. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg concurred, stating that member states cannot impose additional obligations on online service providers established in other EU countries.

The ruling has significant implications, with Google and Airbnb having their European headquarters in Ireland and Amazon in Luxembourg. Expedia, a US-based online travel services provider headquartered in Spain, also objected to the requirement. The CJEU’s decision, which is final and not subject to appeal, has far-reaching implications for cross-border online services within the EU.

Why does it matter?

This ruling underscores the importance of adhering to the EU laws and regulations regarding online services. It sets a precedent for maintaining consistency in regulations across member states and reinforces the principle of mutual recognition among EU countries. As technology continues to transcend borders, legal clarity and harmonisation are essential for fostering a conducive environment for digital innovation and commerce across Europe.